Maia still wants a say-so in the future direction of the
Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s flyweight division.
Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder outboxed and
outfoxed American Top Team’s Maryna
Moroz to a unanimous decision in the featured
UFC Fight Night 215 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las
Vegas. All three cageside judges sided with Maia (20-9-1, 5-5 UFC):
30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Maia managed distance beautifully for much of the bout, stringing
together efficient punching combinations that were often punctuated
by thudding right hands. She sprinkled in kicks here and there—some
to the body, some to the head and some to the legs—and reduced
Moroz (11-4, 6-4 UFC) to single strikes through superior timing and
movement. The Ukrainian rallied in the third round, where she
stepped into a right hand, knocked Maia off-balance and started to
connect with more than one punch at a time. Alas, her efforts fell
short of the intended mark.
Johns Outduels Tepid Morales
Glory MMA rep Miles Johns
won for the third time in four outings, as he took a unanimous
decision from Vince
Morales in a forgettable three-round bantamweight clash. A
short-notice replacement for Jose
Johnson, Johns (13-2, 4-2 UFC) carried all three scorecards:
30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Morales (11-7, 3-5 UFC) struggled to shift out of neutral
throughout a lukewarm first 10 minutes. Johns stayed busy enough to
keep his head above water, his efforts highlighted by chopping
right hands, leg kicks and a takedown late in the second round.
Morales finally got going in Round 3. There, he connected with
counter right hands, body kicks and a stiff jab that left his
opponent with a bloody nose. However, it was not enough to escape
the hole he had dug for himself through inactivity.
The 32-year-old Morales has dropped back-to-back bouts.
Turcios Edges Reeling Natividad
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 29 winner Ricky
Turcios bounced back from a July 9 defeat to Aiemann
Zahabi with a split decision over Kevin
Natividad in a three-round bantamweight affair. All three
members of the judiciary struck 29-28 scorecards: Anthony Maness
for Natividad, Derek Cleary and Sal D’Amato for Turcios.
Neither man gained a discernible edge in a 15-minute battle marked
by wild scrambles and positional changes. Natividad (9-4, 0-3 UFC)
executed takedowns in all three rounds and staggered his
counterpart badly with a left hook midway through the second.
However, his inability to corral Turcios on the canvas proved
costly and left their exchanges open to interpretation. Turcios
(12-3, 2-1 UFC) made his move late in Round 3, where he scrambled
onto the Arizona Combat Sports product’s back, secured a body
triangle and alternated between punishing ground-and-pound and
near-miss rear-naked choke attempts.
Natividad, 29, remains winless inside the Octagon.
Surging Demopoulos Downs Oliveira
Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Vanessa
Demopoulos leaned on takedowns, sublime topside grappling and
damaging ground-and-pound, as she laid claim to a unanimous
decision over Maria
Oliveira in a three-round women’s strawweight tilt. Demopoulos
(9-4, 3-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three
The first two rounds were blowouts. Demopoulos struck for
takedowns, climbed to full mount on multiple occasions and cut
loose with slashing elbows. She also decked Oliveira (13-6, 1-2
UFC) with an overhand right. Demopoulos lost some steam across the
final five minutes, where the Brazilian pressured her into an
almost perpetual backpedal. Volleys of straight punches from
Oliveira followed once contact with the fence as made. Demopoulos,
however, managed to stay out of real danger and arrived at the
finish line with her lead intact.
The 34-year-old Demopoulos has rattled off three consecutive
Resilient Hiestand Handles Garcia
Timely takedowns, suffocating control and an active submission game
carried “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 29 finalist Brady
Hiestand to a unanimous decision over Fernando
Garcia in a three-round bantamweight tilt. All three cageside
judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Hiestand (6-2, 1-1 UFC).
Garcia (10-3, 0-2 UFC) sat down the Sikjitsu rep with a counter
right hand inside the first minute, swooped into top position and
lined up a rear-naked choke. Hiestand withstood those efforts,
pressed the reset button during the respite between rounds and
forced his Fortis MMA-trained counterpart out of his comfort zone.
He rattled Garcia with a pair of head kicks in Round 2 and turned
the tide further with takedowns, consolidating them with control
and attempted chokes while bleeding valuable time off the
Hiestand has won two of his past three bouts.
Silva Kick Vaporizes Bleda
Former Jungle Fight champion Natalia
Silva put away Tereza
Bleda with a spinning back kick to the face and follow-up
punches in the third round of their women’s flyweight pairing.
Silva (14-5-1, 2-0 UFC) brought it to a spectacular close 1:27 into
Bleda (6-1, 1-0 UFC) rolled through a head-and-arm throw, landed in
top position and applied her ground-and-pound from half guard in
the first round. Silva executed a sweep soon after but wandered
into a triangle choke and was forced to defend her neck and exposed
arm. She survived the exchange, pushed Bleda into deeper water and
let fatigue do the rest. Silva snapped back the 20-year-old Czech
prospect’s head on more than one occasion in the middle stanza,
connecting with powerful shots from both hands. By the time the
round concluded, it became evident that Bleda was a spent force.
The 2022 Dana White’s Contender Series graduate
ducked at the wrong time in the third, absorbed a perfectly timed
spinning back kick from Silva and succumbed to subsequent
Silva, 25, will ride an eight-fight winning streak into her next
Jennifer Maia Upends Favored Maryna Moroz in Las Vegas
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